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Earth, Wind & Fire is suing an Earth, Wind & Fire cover band

Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Byron Allen, Allen Media Group

A battle over the name Earth, Wind & Fire may be headed to court. Rolling Stone reports that Earth, Wind & Fire LLP, the rights holders of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group’s trademark, has filed a lawsuit against Substantial Music Group and Stellar Communications over their Earth, Wind & Fire Legacy Reunion, which is basically a cover band featuring of unnamed “former members” of the R&B group.

The real Earth, Wind & Fire consists of HOF band members Verdine White and Philip Bailey; they just announced a tour with Lionel Richie. The lawsuit contends the Legacy Reunion show doesn’t have the legal right to use the band’s copyrights to promote concerts.

The suit argues that Substantial Music Group and Stellar Communications “hired a few musicians who previously had played with the real Earth, Wind & Fire as side musicians for brief periods” for their tour and “hatched a scheme to falsely imply in advertising that this new group was the real Earth, Wind & Fire.”

They say by using the real band’s logos, word mark and more they are “misleading consumers and selling more tickets at higher prices.” It’s so confusing that the plaintiffs say even ticketing sites have gotten confused and mixed up the two bands’ tour dates on their sites.

Earth, Wind & Fire LLP is demanding a court force Substantial Music Group and Stellar Communications to stop using all copyright-infringing promotional materials. They are seeking “all revenues” from the concerts and performances of “Legacy Reunion,” along with “a monetary judgment reflecting its compensatory and general damages at trial, or in the alternative, statutory damages.”

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